HWPL Webinar for Sustainable Peace: Sierra Leone

On December 17, HWPL hosted a webinar on “The Need for Peace for Sustainable Social Development”. The about 26 attendees included the leader of a Sierra Leonean Youth NGO group, members of the press,  leaders of religious groups as well as others and they discussed practical ways to achieve peace in Sierra Leone.

Youth make up a high proportion of the population of Sierra Leone. Political polarization by race and region has led to bloody violence among young people in each party’s critical campaign and many of the youth have been sacrificed. Additionally, these youth are living in conflict and constant anxiety, taking harmful drugs due to unemployment and other economic issues and engaging in violence and criminal activities that hinder the safety of the country.

The social perception that the state of this kind of conflict and anxiety is inevitable and a natural course must be reformed and there is an absolute need to educate youth that peace is a fundamental human right.

Col. Muana Brima Massaquoi, the current Vice-Minister of Defense of Sierra Leone, stated in a congratulatory message, “I am very happy and interested to see this event going on because it was a space where many different opinions were freely presented and everyone was very considerate of each other. The ultimate purpose of this work is to promote sustainable peace through a foundation of justice and equality.” He also suggested a practical direction to go in stating that it is our responsibility to create a culture of peace to guarantee human rights. In addition to this the Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone–Ms. Yvonne Denise Aki-Sawyer–as well as the previous Vice President Hon. Samuel Sam Sumana and others sent their congratulatory remarks.

Each of the experts in each of the fields represented at the webinar agreed and emphasized the need for the construction of a culture of peace and peace education for the youth to carry out the protection of human rights.

Mr. Dauda Ahmid Koroma, Executive Director of The Needy Today Sierra Leone, specifically suggested, “As an independent nation, what Sierra Leone has lacked is unity. To this end, political tolerance and unity must be provided by Sierra Leone’s leadership. All of this should be protected nobly and without question, such as embracing each other’s wounds, uniting everyone, and inclusion rather than exclusion.  In order for this uniting process to not be halted, leadership looking towards peace in every region in Sierra Leone must create an exercisable culture of peace.” He continued, “Sustainable social development is impossible as long as conflicts are repeated. Families, schools, regional communities, and even as far as the entire nation–we must all face these conflicts and find a long term solution to fix this,” emphasizing that we should recognize the situation at hand and create an environment and culture for peace through education.

“Nations without peace always spring from a state of anarchy that hinders the peaceful coexistence of its citizens. As quickly as the Sierra Leonean election period is approaching, for the citizens of Sierra Leone, especially for the peaceful coexistence of our youth, we need to build a peace community. It will improve the public’s perception about the importance of maintaining peace and harmony between fellow citizens and this education of citizens will also help maintain peace,”  said Mr. Reverend Joseph Lamboi, Pastor of Church Saint Michael and All Angels Parish Baiima.

Mr. Musa Robinson, President of Saint Michael Youth Fellowship in Baiima Mandu said, “Peace is justice for the sustainable development of all nations. For our own personal growth and survival, practical measures must be taken to promote peace. The global community should be free from violence and abuse of human rights. Complete weapon disarmament of weapons and respect for human rights giving equal opportunities for all is needed in achieving this goal.”

It is expected that there will be discourse on the specific action plans so that the solutions to the issues presented can be realized in Sierra Leone. Moving forward, non-governmental efforts to build a culture of peace in Sierra Leone are expected to accelerate in 2023.

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